Soca artiste Sekon Sta, left and Police Commissioner Gary Griffith following a meeting at the commissioner’s residence in St James yesterday.

The Trinidad and Tobago Promoters Association (TTPA) is lamenting the lack of consultation with stakeholders, including the Ministry of Tourism, on how this year’s Carnival could have been showcased.

Members of the association expressed their disappointment yesterday, a day after a meeting with Police Commissioner Gary Griffith which was the only discussion centred around Carnival to take place to date.

Exactly a month from now revellers would have been participating in the Parade of the Bands but the pulsating parades have been silenced by COVID-19.

Also absent were discussions on how elements of Carnival could have been salvaged. At a news conference on Friday, TTPA advocate Paige De Leon said other than a meeting with the Commissioner Griffith, there has been no interest, not even from the government.

“We were in fact called two weeks ago by the Ministry of Tourism and asked if we would have a meeting with an inter-ministerial team. The meeting was cancelled and has not been rescheduled. We have heard nothing about it since.”

De Leon said Carnival appeared to be treated as a joke following a breakdown of talks with stakeholders.

“Trinidad and Tobago Promoters Association has not been consulted by the decision-makers this whole period. We have not been engaged. We are the country’s largest tourism service provider that in an atmosphere where there continues to be no support, no dialogue and not a word on how we move forward.”

She said the approach toward the sector must be lifted if thousands are not to be impacted by the fallout caused by the pandemic.

“We ask that the travel exemption system be revisited especially for those with business needs. Our brands are global and travel for us is not a luxury, it is part of our work. Many countries have found ways to adapt and are reopening their entertainment sectors. They have had spikes and have to ebb and flow restrictions but they understand the beat goes on.”

The association’s president, Jerome ‘Rome’ Precilla, stressed that consultations were critical for the continuation of Carnival.

“So we not talking about a parade of the bands but different elements of Carnival can still be showcased virtually. But we need the support not only from the government but also corporate T&T in order to fund these things.”

During a meeting between Griffith and members of the TTPA on Thursday, a decision was taken that police would be in attendance at virtual events in a bid to ensure all COVID health protocols are adhered to.

Griffith yesterday met with soca artiste Nesta ‘Sekon Sta’ Boxhill, whose Sekon Sunday concert at Queen’s Hall last Sunday was put under probe for alleged breaches of COVID regulations.

The probe was dropped one day later after the police found that the patrons who attended the concert at Queen’s Hall acted in keeping with the regulations.